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Miguel Cotto threatens to vacate title: "145lbs is not a category!"

“The weight of 145 pounds is not a category."
- Miguel Cotto (who weighed 146lbs in his title defense against Joshua Clottey last month).

Mental games have already begun this past week, as pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao has requested that WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto put his title on the line when they meet in their highly anticipated welterweight contest scheduled for November 14th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. The 12 round fight will be fought at a catch weight of 145lbs, but there are still questions as to whether or not it will be a title fight. Cotto has recently insisted that he is willing to risk his title against the Philippine superstar – only if the fight takes place at the weight limit of 147lbs. In the event that Pacquiao refuses to comply with Cotto's request to meet him at the 147lbs pound limit, Cotto has threatened to vacate his title.

According to an interview with Puerto Rico’s newspaper Primerahora, Cotto adamantly claimed, “The weight of 145 pounds is not a category." With no intentions of mocking Mr. Cotto, I would be quick to point out that any fighter who is competing over the weight limit of 140lbs is officially considered a welterweight in the sport of boxing. Therefore, I believe Cotto's title absolutely should be on the line in his fight with Pacquiao this fall. In his last fight on June 13, a title defense against Joshua Clottey at Madison Square Garden, Cotto weighed in at 146lbs. How is the weight of 145lbs not a weight category in Cotto's upcoming fight with Pacquiao, if Cotto’s weight of 146lbs was justifiable enough for him to defend his championship against Clottey?

There are reasons why Cotto may not want to risk his title in this fight, which from a business stand point might make sense and are completely understandable. In a match up between these two fighters, Pacquiao is on A-side of the business equation, which means he is the bigger star of the two fighters. Being that he is Top Rank promoter Bob Arum's bread and butter super star, Pacquiao's star power will have a serious influence on how much revenue the event is going to generate. Should Cotto lose, he remains a star in his own right, as he will retain the loyalty and support of his native Puerto Rico, but he also realizes he would still have the WBO title as bargaining leverage for future fights if he loses to Pacquiao without putting it on the line.

Pacquiao is widely regarded as the best fighter in the world in any weight class, so belts should not make or break his status in the sport as much as he would like to win another world title in a new weight division. What is most important at the end of the day is the significance and anticipation of this mega fight. Should the fight result in a memorable battle between two of the best and most exciting pugilists in the world today, fans are probably not going to remember whether or not a sanctioning body’s title belt was being contested.

Rest in Peace Vernon Forrest

Vernon Forrest 1971-2009

As if the untimely passing of Arturo Gatti did not leave all in the boxing world hanging their heads in mournful despair, two division world champion Vernon Forrest, 38, was murdered in Atlanta, GA over the weekend.

Forrest was gunned down by two men who had attempted to steal his Jaguar. Forrest ran after them with his own weapon, in what was an exchange of gun fire, only to be gunned down himself and fatally wounded by two semi-automatic weapons. At this time, police have not found any suspects.

Forrest, who had a professional record of 41-3, 29 KOs, was a fine champion who will best be remembered for his victories in over current welterweight champion Shane Mosley. My memory goes back to the night of Saturday, January 26, 2002 at the Theater in Madison Square Garden when Forrest handed Mosley the first loss of his professional career, a one-sided unanimous decision, in what was a battle of undefeated welterweight champions. Forrest's first win over Mosley is still the most decisive loss Mosley has ever suffered to this day.

Mosley fought Forrest in a return engagement six months later, but Forrest once again emerged victorious with a points win indicating a contest that was closer than their initial encounter. The consecutive wins over Mosley would earn Forrest Ring Magazine's 2002 Fighter of the Year Award. My sympathy goes out to Forrest's family and friends. A class act, both in and out of the ring, Forrest will be dearly missed.

R.I.P. Vernon Forrest.

Pacquiao vs. Cotto is set for November 14!

After months of speculation as to whom he would be facing in his next fight, Pound for Pound king Manny Pacquiao has agreed to face WBO welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto at a catch weight of 145lbs on November 14. The fight, which Top Rank plans to promotionally bill as Power Surge, will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV and will be televised live on HBO PPV.

Over the weekend during a long distance phone call, Pacquiao and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum came to verbal agreement to make the 12 round super fight. Welterweight champion Shane Mosley had been making serious attempts to land a fight with the Philippines superstar, even going so far to insist that he would drop down in weight to 140lbs to face Pacquiao for his super lightweight championship, but it was too little too late for Sugar Shane. Pacquiao vs. Cotto made more sense to Pacquiao, Cotto and Arum from a business standpoint, knowing that it was an easier fight to make and negotiate being that both champions are promoted by Top Rank.

Mark your calendars for November 14, as this tremendous welterweight match up will pit boxing’s pound for pound king of the Philippines against the finest pugilistic performer Puerto Rico currently has to offer! Pacquiao was last seen in the ring on May 2, scoring a 2nd round knockout of Manchester’s Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas to claim the super lightweight championship of the world. Just last month, Cotto won a dramatic and mildly entertaining split decision over Joshua Clottey to retain his WBO title on June 13 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Main Events remembers Arturo Gatti

Statement from Main Events about Arturo Gatti: The staff of Main Events was shocked and deeply saddened by the news of Arturo Gatti’s death. [Editor's note: the two-division champion was murdered at the age of 37 while vacationing in Brazil. His wife has been arrested]. Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO, shared her thoughts on Arturo, “There will never be another Arturo Gatti. His fights were among the most exciting and entertaining in the history of professional boxing. “

“Known throughout his career as ‘The Human Highlight Film,’ Arturo will be remembered by his fans as one of the all-time greats, and by his friends and family as one very special human being who will never be replaced. ““We at Main Events mourn his untimely death, extend our condolences to his family and close friends and wonder if boxing will ever be as much fun without him.”

Jolene Mizzone, Logistics and Fighter Relations Manager, expressed her sadness. “Everyone knew Arturo as a superstar boxer. To me he was like family. I knew Arturo the person, the man who would give me the shirt off his back. Arturo would do anything for the ones he loved. He was like a brother to me. I will miss him.”

Dennis Dueltgen, Chief of Operations, usually a man of few words was moved to share his thoughts also, “Most of all I think he was a regular guy. My mother-in-law was a big boxing fan. Arturo was aware of this. She knew him from the time he made his pro-debut to the end. It didn’t matter how big a star Arturo became or how big a fight he was in, if he saw her at a show he would take the time to spend a few minutes with her. It would always be genuine. It meant a lot to her and it meant a lot to me. He really was a caring person.”

IBF cruiserweight champion, Tomasz Adamek learned of Arturo’s death on the night of his successful title defense. Adamek was deeply moved by the tragic events. He dedicated his win to Arturo Gatti’s memory at his post-fight press conference. “We met not so long ago. We talked about his great fights and how he always fought for the fans first and for everything else second. I would be proud if in the future people compared me to Arturo Gatti in that respect. Every one of his fights was something to remember. There will never be another Arturo Gatti.”

We at Main Events extend our sincere condolences to Arturo’s family. We will dearly miss not only a great boxing legend but an even greater friend.

R.I.P. Arturo Gatti

Over the weekend, the sport of boxing lost one of its most courageous warriors. Widely regarded as Boxing’s Ultimate Blood and Guts Warrior, former two-time world champion Arturo Gatti, 37, was found dead in his hotel room on Saturday in Brazil. A purse strap, stained with Gatti’s blood, was found in the hotel room leading investigators to believe that Gatti was strangled to death.

Police officers recently arrested Gatti’s wife, Amanda Rodrigues, whom they believe to be the murder suspect in Gatti’s death. When questioned by police how she did not realize for nearly 10 hours that Gatti was dead when she was in the room with him, Rodrigues was at a loss for words and unable to answer the question. Right about now, Rodrigues would appear to be guilty. Upon her conviction one can only hope that she remains in a jail cell for the rest of her life, with her entire life to think about what she has done while locked up. Boxing has lost one of its good men at a very young age.

Nobody could ever claim that this man ducked or dodged anybody when he was active as a fighter. Win or lose, he's fought a who's who of champions and contenders: Angel Manfredy, Ivan Robinson, Micky Ward, Oscar De la hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Carlos Baldomir, and others. Clearly he was boxing's human highlight reel. I am deeply saddened by his untimely passing.

Now that I have discussed his passing, what are your fondest memories and favorite fights of Arturo Gatti?
He was in so many spectacular, crowd pleasing fights over the years. His fight with Wilson Rodriguez at the theater in Madison Square Garden on March 23, 1996 (only the 2nd installment of HBO Boxing After Dark), might be one of the greatest fights I've EVER seen. His come from behind, 6th round stoppage of Rodriguez has to rank at the top of my list as one of the bravest efforts I have ever witnessed on behalf of a prize fighter.

Do you remember the ringside physican in Gatti's corner?
"Cover your left eye... COVER YOUR LEFT EYE OR IT'S OVER!"

Next round, with his eyes practically swollen shut, Gatti would knock Rodriguez out cold!

Nothing quite defines the meaning of the term heart more appropriately than Gatti’s performance and will to win in that fight.

After his final ring appearance two years ago this very day, which resulted in a 6th round knockout loss at the hands of Alfonso Gomez in Atlantic City, NJ, Gatti retired with a professional career record of 40-9 and 31 knockouts.

My sincere condolences go out to Gatti's family and friends.

R.I.P. Arturo Gatti.